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DRY CONDITIONS will continue through the weekend. A weakening front will bring a chance for light rain to Del Norte and Humboldt counties on Monday. Elsewhere dry conditions are expected to persist. (NWS)
THE ANNUAL BOONVILLE HOTEL FUNDRAISER for the Food Bank is on! Please reserve ahead and pick up your food on Wed, Dec. 2!
FROM BOONVILLE’S BOONT BERRY STORE:
We’ve donated about 70 more lbs of pineapple guava! You can pick up your guavas at Boontberry. They are delicious and unique. Great for jam making and table fruit.
POINT CABRILLO LIGHTHOUSE IN COVID
This last year has been challenging for so many people in so many ways. We hope you, your loved ones and friends are healthy, and coping with these difficult times as well as possible. The support and endurance of friends and supporters has enabled the Point Cabrillo Lightkeepers Association to persevere and continue with our mission in spite of the turbulence. We are so grateful.
Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park was closed with little notice in mid-March, with all income generating activities halted. We were lucky that your past support enabled us to paint our bathroom and cottage roofs as planned. With the vacation rentals closed for a few weeks, we took that opportunity to do inside painting as well.
With schools closed, students could not visit on field trips. With the technical and filming help of our brilliant Outreach Manager, our amazing Education Team put the lessons on line! You can check these out on our website www.pointcabrillo.org. Feedback from teachers and parents helping students with online lessons has been so overwhelmingly positive that we are currently brainstorming how we can enhance and expand these lessons with hands on activities to helps schools, students and parents now and in the future.
One of the windows in the Second Assistant Keeper’s house has failed around its sash. We have a temporary fix in place but the window must be replaced. If we get a window made, we should get all of the others made at the same time. This follows the restoration plan and is most economically efficient since the majority of the cost is the setup and custom milling. Each historic window costs about $1500. There are 13 windows to be restored. With your help, this is the project we will focus on for 2021.
This past year has been challenging. We were able to keep pursuing our mission by utilizing financial reserves but now those reserves are diminished and must be replenished. The PCLK is proud to be a team of devoted volunteers, funded by our generous donors.
You make all that we do possible.
Thank you for your support,
President, Point Cabrillo Lightkeepers Association
DAN BRAUN on Camp Navarro: "Hey folks, I wanted to wish everyone a safe holiday season and also briefly update you on Camp Navarro.
We have remained closed this year which has been very difficult but we will reopen in Spring 2021. We plan to continue to run/host diverse events (covid rules/safety guiding us in 2021) and we will also open up bookings to the public more like a hotel and campground at select times throughout the year.
We will be rehiring a full team in all departments and posting jobs early in the new year. We will have full time and part time positions available and we will be seeking an experienced chef, ideally supporting and hiring someone local.
We also may have some additional housing needs so feel free to message me if you may have something available in the valley in the new year. We look forward to collaborating with our local friends to support your business and product anyway we can.
Better days lie ahead and we welcome the chance to celebrate AV and future good times with you. Stay safe out there and enjoy these gorgeous fall days...."
PAM PARTEE COMMENTS on Brad Wiley’s last Valley Vistas piece concerning Peachland Road in Boonville:
Thank you for your article. I have owned property with my partner in upper Peachland since the early 80s. We have lived there in a small rustic cabin from a former back-to-the-lander and later built an off-the-grid house. When we first owned our land, we had few neighbors on the road, including the Briana Burns and Smith families. In years past I did extensive research on the history of the area. The best research tools are Maurice Tindall’s two Down to Earth books. He purchased the old Leo “Pa” Sanders’ place below us where the county road ends at a bar gate. Pa Sanders homesteaded a quarter section, then divided up some small acre parcels that he sold for $10 gold to encourage the community to grow. A number of these parcels passed down through school teachers and were never fully developed as homesteads. Pa Sanders’ neighbors were the McNeils who owned the quarter section to the south. The families intermarried and consolidated the land, later sold to Tindall, who I believe operated a dude ranch on the property. In the early 60’s Leon and Helen Libeu of Santa Rosa purchased the Tindall place and preserved it. The Libeus also purchased acreage on one of the other roads at the fork you mention, the one that leads down to Indian Creek, where there are/were some exceptional redwoods where the road fords the creek. The Libeu cabin along that road was in a fine meadow; it was burned down some time ago perhaps by folks upset with Helen’s very public activism opposing logging. The Lone Pine region and the hill on the south side of the North Fork of Indian Creek were owned by the Rawles family who ran sheep. Max Rawles was alive when we purchased our acres and he stayed at what was the old William Heryford cabin that no longer exists (the barn down the old road may still be there). Helen Libeu passed away in 2014. After decades of quietude, save some shelter timber cut, the Sanders-McNeil/Tindall/Libeu parcels were sold, the old Tindall cabin restored, and then the land divided and sold again by a Philo local. To illustrate the change, we used to have white-tailed kites flying over the meadow beneath our house, plenty of owls, and virtually no vehicle traffic, while now few owls hoot, cars pass daily on the dirt road below, and just the other week there was a drone overhead! Such is life and change.
LAKE PILLSBURY by Oakey Joe Munson
Scott Dam was built to hold back water to run a new state-of-the-art hydroelectric power plant. Three quarters of a century later it is a dinosaur in the center of much debate. The dam is still producing 9 megawatts (not very much). Being a hydropower project means that the water used is "abandoned" after it runs through the damn and is almost free for those downstream.
But Lake Pillsbury is not about just water and electricity. Pillsbury is also a famous recreation area. Voters, campers, hikers, hang gliders, motorcycles, 4x4s, hunters and fishermen all used his lake. And on top of all that Lake Pillsbury has at least a couple hundred houses around the lake, some are full-time residences.
I personally know many people who make a living from all the activities going on around the lake. More than once I have been southbound on the Golden Gate Bridge and I’ve seen a really dirty car or truck and I yell, "Hey, Lake Pillsbury?!" And the people yelled back, "Yeah, how did you know?"
To me this means that money is flowing into this area from outside. People from Santa Rosa, Willits, Laytonville, Covelo and many other cities and towns are spending their time and money here!
Once a year there is a big motorcycle rally -- dirt motorcycles. From the Central Valley all the way to the coast this is hundreds of motorbikes all spending money -- gas, food, hotels, etc. My friend Bruce Baker is the head of the service department at Motorsports of Ukiah and he works on Saturdays instead of being home with his family because so many people come up and have emergency repairs necessary to continue their weekend activities. We even joked about how unprepared people are.
The same kinds of things are going on out at Lake Pillsbury.
My wife and I have a couple of long-time friends who run the Soda Creek Store near the lake. It is supposed to be a convenience store but it is way more than that! I lived up on Mount Sanhedrin with my wife for four years and anytime we needed anything it was straight down to Soda Creek. Nick and E.D. have run the store for many years and have always had a family member or worker on-site in case of mechanical breakdowns or fire repairs or a million other things that can go wrong way out there. Nick and E.D. have helped us more times than I can remember!
Yesterday my daughter Millie and I drove up to Lake Pillsbury through Upper Lake. The road is fine until you get to the CC campground. From there it is screwed up till you get to the top of Elk Mountain, then it is perfect almost all the way out to Lake Pillsbury. Elk Mountain is badly burned and looks very different now. The Elk Mountain hotshots must be shaking their heads about this.
When we got out to Lake Pillsbury we were pleasantly surprised to see the lake area did not burn. We drove around to sunset and the hometrack and I am glad to report that again everything is mostly intact.
Hull mountain has been cooked a couple times over in the last 20 years and this time it burned all the way over to Mount Sanhedrin in the northwest over to the Covelo area. Boardman Ridge looks passable when the Forest Service opens that road up again. The Snow Mountain wilderness burned completely and looks ugly! Once again Lake Pillsbury is in good shape though!
There is a lot of discussion about Lake, Scott Dam, the Potter Valley diversion, Van Arsdale Dam, and Coyote Dam (Lake Mendocino).
Here are some of the issues: water rights, economics, environmental concerns, people's investment in lakefront homes and homes with views of Lake Pillsbury (landowners).
I don't know what to say about this but here are some opinions that other people have shared with me.
Ukiah business owner: "Leave the dam alone. All our other resources are depleted and water is all we have left."
Santa Rosa retired dentist and avid fisherman: "Sonoma paid for the dam and should be allowed to continue using the water from Lake Pillsbury."
Novato custom motorcycle shop: "Leave it alone. We need all the water we can store.” He added "If you want to go swimming, backfill your swimming pool, plant something and go to the Lake."
Willits business owner: "Leave the dam alone."
Navarro business owner: "Leave the dam unless they know the fish will return."
Santa Rosa manager of a tile store: "Take it out, replace it with smaller dams with fish ladders. Power companies built these dams and now they have paid off their shareholders and they, like PG&E, want to wash their hands of the whole thing. All through the 70s and 80s PG&E saw exactly what was happening and covered their asses and now they're bankrupt! Who will be paying to restore these estuaries and wildlife habitats? PG&E should be liable for all costs and losses public and private, but they are going to dodge the bullet with their dirty deals and criminal connections to government regulators!"
Ukiah tire shop manager and two coworkers; all three said, "Leave it, we go up to Lake Pillsbury all the time."
Lake Pillsbury homeowner: "Leave it, we need all the water we can save, build more dams that don't have negative impact on our environment."
Game warden: "People don't fully understand the ramifications of leaving or removing this body of water. More exchanges of information would be prudent."
Lakeport business owner: "I have my own lake and I don't care too much what they do with Lake Pillsbury."
I would like to suggest that any anyone who cares or has an interest in Lake Pillsbury read Mark Scaramella's "Mendo’s Water Mafia” in the October 28, 2020 AVA. Then you will at least have some honest input about who is who.
PS. To Janet Pauli: I'm crying hard, you poor poor girl!
PPS. There is actually a strain of pot called “Scooby Snacks.”
FORT BRAGG RESIDENT RUSHELL PIVER HEARTBROKEN After Thief Steals Travel Trailer with Beloved Dog Inside
Fort Bragg resident Rushell Piver needs the community’s help. Sometime between Monday, November 23 and Tuesday the 24, a thief stole a travel trailer from her property on Highway 20 in Fort Bragg and inside was Piver’s beloved late mother’s dog Dino.
MY BRUSH WITH THE POSTAL SERVICE
by Mark Scaramella
Remember that conspiracy story in the run-up to the 2020 election? Trump was going to cripple the Postal Service by somehow defunding it while his henchman, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, dismantled operations of the vote by mail system so Trump could justify his claims that vote by mail was inherently fraudulent.
There were even widely circulated pictures of postal equipment being dismantled and tossed onto back lots for salvage trash collectors.
And then silence. The Postal Service trundled on, and Trump’s pre-election protests that the Service was untrustworthy, disappeared. And so did the mail-in voting problems.
I recognized some of the equipment in the pictures of junked equipment. They looked like output racks and chutes from sorting machines.
The postal service has three basic categories of mail: envelopes, flats and packages. Each category has its own processing equipment.
“Flats” are mostly magazines and other periodicals plus oversized political flyers and junkmail, although they also may include other “flats” like vinyl records, artwork, and thin books.
In the 1980s I worked for a company in San Jose which had the first contract to build flat sorters in the United States. Early versions of flat sorters were designed and developed in Germany, and the first USPS flat sorters were built in Canada.
But by the 1980s the USPS had decided they wanted to see if any American companies wanted to make flat sorters. The management at our company, Engineered Systems and Development (ESD), thought that if we could get a flat sorter contract it would open up an entire new line of inventory handling and shipping markets for us.
ESD had been the industrial engineering division of FMC, Food Machinery Corporation, a name they kept even though by the early 80s FMC had shifted its focus from food processing to the more lucrative public money from defense industry contracts. FMC had decided that its industrial equipment engineering operation was a money loser and put it out for bid.
A multi-millionaire Cleveland-based entrepreneur named Robert Thomsich ended up buying FMC’S Engineered Systems Division and renaming it Engineered System & Development. Thomsich had no experience in Engineering and over time his “leadership” led to the hiring of mostly incompetent executives who took the company into ill-fated and largely fantasy developments and dying markets.
I started work at ESD as a staff logistics engineer in 1982. ESD had an engineering staff of about 50 mechanical, electrical, industrial and electronics engineers and a huge manufacturing facility with several hundred employees trained in the fabrication trades: welders, machinists, sheet metal workers who worked at industrial-size machine tools and shop equipment. But it was a prototype development operation, not a high-volume assembly line manufacturing plant.
When I started work there we were the only company in the US that made the machines that mass-produced floppy disks, at first the 5.25 inch size used in early PCs and later the 3.5 inch smaller versions. Those now obsolete and largely forgotten projects are stories in themselves but they can wait until another day.
ESD’s self-aggrandizing management became enamored of getting the USPS flat sorter contract even though we had no experience in that line of equipment. So they intentionally underbid the job, ignoring our engineering cost estimates, with the assumption that if problems cropped up, our team of experienced engineers could solve them, and follow-on orders would make up for initial overruns.
But ESD’s lack of experience with the postal service, its equipment requirements and its facilities, didn’t keep the Post Office from awarding a contract for 180 flat sorters to the lowest bidder, ESD.
Problems began immediately when the engineering drawings arrived. All the dimensions were metric and much of the text on the drawings was in German. Our facilities, and those of our US suppliers, were in English. There were thousands of drawings to translate and convert to metric before they could even be reviewed for the “make-buy” decision.
The translation process set us back several weeks and it wasn’t long before the postal service's contracting office starting wondering what was taking so long.
After the dimensions were converted and key sections of the text translated, the engineers then discovered that the backbone of the machines, a long series of metal frames made of welded square steel tubes, required extremely tight tolerances to keep the machine carefully aligned so that the sorting mechanism was accurate and reliable.
Our first attempts at consistently welding to those tight tolerances — checked by precise laser measurements — told us that making those frames straight enough for the run of 180s flat sorters seemed nearly impossible. And, since there were nine frames per flat sorter, that meant we had to build over 1600 frames (ESD was used to making a few units at a time, not hundreds) to tolerances we couldn’t maintain without hand tinkering every frame after it was measured — way too slow and expensive.
Managment then decided they needed to hire a welding consultant to help set up the fabrication line for the frames. The first two “consultants” were retired mechanical engineers whose skills were not as advertised in their resumes. They couldn’t come up with any more than our own in-house engineers had tried — at several hundred dollars an hour each.
Finally, we found a grizzled old retired engineer from South Carolina who had designed the manufacturing line for a dumpster factory there. At last we had a guy who knew his stuff! Although in his 80s at the time, he quickly saw that what we needed was precise fixturing to hold the steel tubes for the welders to weld on, and he got it done.
Meanwhile, we were busy on everything else. Putting the thousands of custom parts and components out to bid and setting up the remainder of the fabrication and assembly process, re-programming the computer that ran the whole sorting machine and planning for manufacture and delivery and installation in about 100 Post Office sorting facilities around the country.
Needless to say, this all cost more than what we had estimated and a lot more than we bid.
The start up delays also got the USPS contracting office so annoyed that they started to think we had bid a job we knew we couldn’t deliver and had perhaps committed outright fraud.
Our progress meetings took on such an adversarial tone that the USPS management teams were accompanied by armed postal inspectors, essentially the USPS’s own FBI agents.
But, with the old welding guy’s expertise we finally solved the key alignment problem and things got back on track, albeit delayed and over-budget.
When it came time to deliver and install the first batch of flat sorters we had to send out an advance man to each postal facility to make sure it was properly prepared with all the required space, utilities, smooth level flooring, lighting, and trained operators.
During this time I had become ESD’s de facto Engineering Services Director. I set up the system to computerize the materials lists, keep track of the thousands of design and engineering changes, and produce manufacturing and assembly diagrams for the shop techs to work to.
So it was no surprise that I was picked as the advance man for one of the installation crews. I was assigned to visit about 20 postal processing facilities in medium sized towns in the midwest, from Missouri to Indiana to Illinois to Michigan.
During these two field surveys, each about two weeks of driving and flying from town to town, one of my tasks was to make sure that the facilities where the flat sorters were to be installed were prepared to run an operational test to make sure things ran correctly, at speed, with both test mail (hundreds of hoked-up manila envelopes with fake addresses that I had organized) along with real mail that was supposed to be on hand for testing.
The machines had to be installed to the same precision as the manufacturing process, so the testing was to make sure things were lined up, again using laser calibration to make any final minor adjustments as necessary.
As the installation crews were deployed, we occasionally ran across a problem which we hadn’t anticipated. Installations at some facilities were being delayed due to insufficient test mail.
And here’s where we circle forward to the Trumpian scare stories and pictures of sorting equipment being dismantled and scrapped in the fall of 2020. I recognized some of that tossed out equipment as newer versions of the flat sorters that ESD had installed back in the 1980s.
If the Trump administration was trying to undermine the election via Postal Service tampering why was the Post Office throwing away flat sorters which do not process ballot envelopes anyway?
Our installation crews had been told by mail processing staffers that the shortages of test mail had occurred either because the mail counts that the facilities had based their equipment needs on were outdated and higher than current mail volume, or the facility managers had re-sorted some mail to get their counts up so that they could retain their budget allocations and the higher management salaries that went with those budgets.
But these days, with the number of mailed periodicals way down while package delivery from on-line orders is way up, both due to the internet, it seems as though somebody at USPS HQ probably realized they no longer needed all those flat sorters and the space they took up. Out it went as unneeded so the Post Office could re-allocate that space to package handling equipment.
Instead of Trumpian conspiracies, given the lack of apparent mail-in-voting problems in the election just past, the more obvious explanation for what we saw on the scrap heap was that we were seeing yet another fallout from the death spiral of all kinds of periodicals, not including, we hope, the AVA.
ENCOURAGING bit of civic responsibility occurred Thursday when a Fairfax man, Noah Mohan, confronted a young fascist placing Nazi stickers around downtown Fairfax. Mohan's video of the incident has since gone viral: instagram.com/tv/CH_eQ5qgSyU/
MOHAN said he was walking his dog Tuesday when he saw a covid-masked man placing the stickers and told him to stop and unmask himself for Mohan's camera.
THE MAN continued to post up Nazi insignia as Mohan followed him and ripped down each sticker. “Not in my city,” Mohan can be heard saying in a nine-minute video of the incident. In the video, the man defends his stickers by saying “they're my ideology” and, when a bystander asks him if he's ever seen the Nazi extermination camp Auschwitz, the man responds, “I don't believe it is real.”
THE POLICE were soon on-scene as a small crowd gathered. Sticker Man was found to be a 19-year-old from Livermore, still publicly unidentified. He was cited by the Fairfax Police under his true name. The police said they've forwarded a vandalism complaint to the Marin DA.
WHY Sticker Man had come all the way to Marin to do his sticker duty is not known.
“Personally,” Mohan declared, “I will not let that shit slide in my town and I hope you guys feel the same way. Racism is alive and growing in Marin county and we need to call it out and condemn it at all costs if we want this to be a safe and peaceful place for people of all skin color, religion, etc.”
ON THE SUBJECT of fascism, and more evidence that gizmo-ism is outta control, in response to the question, 'Do the Elders of Zion control the world?', Alexa responds, "According to palwatch.org, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the swindlers of Zion, have revealed their schemes to subjugate the nations and gain control of the world."
EXACTLY two businesses were open Thanksgiving morning in Boonville — the General Store and the Redwood Drive-in, both of them busy. There was also a steady flow of northbound traffic on 128.
FORMER SHERIFF ALLMAN, retired young from his Mendo duties and a guy who seems blessed with a super-abundance of energy, has taken on the big job of policing the Lost Coast — Shelter Cove north and east to the Mattole — four days a week. (Outback criminals will have to guess which four days.) Allman may be ahead of the curve by providing remote communities with experienced law enforcement, and the Northcoast has plenty of remote communities that could use a regular law enforcement presence. Covelo by itself could use a whole platoon of cops.
THE TRUE STATE of our precarious nation is neatly expressed in one paragraph by Mike Davis: "The United States, as pundits hourly remind us, is now cleaved into two almost equal-sized political universes. But power abhors stalemates and clearly in the present world the evolution towards differential experiments in post-fascist oligarchy and pseudo-democracy. A weak and court-enchained Biden-Harris White House, built on the betrayal of progressives and subservient to a donor class of Silicon Valley and Wall Street billionaires, will face a new depression without the wind of popular enthusiasm at its back. Where does this point except to total destruction in the 2022 midterm and the further triumph of the new darkness?"
BIDEN'S CABINET PICKS are a solid indication that the Democrats don't seem to understand how dire it is out there and getting more dire by the day. The Biden Admin either goes Roosevelt-big, which for the reasons Davis lists they're incapable of doing, or a new, improved Trumpism will be right back.
ACCORDING to U.S. Census data, 5.6 million people struggled to put enough food on the table in the past week, while an estimated two million people in New York alone are expected to go hungry through the holiday season.
THE PUBLIC HEALTH cohort says Thanksgiving will kick off a huge covid surge, "the mother of all superspreader events." Dr. Joseph Varon, chief of staff at Houston’s United Memorial Medical Center, told CNN: “My concerns for the next six to 12 weeks is that if we don't do things right, America is going to see the darkest days in modern American medical history.” Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said: “We have to understand we're in a very dangerous place. People have to stop swapping air.”
TRUMP, natch, urged Americans to "get together" and enjoy themselves over the Thanksgiving weekend, and on Friday he said Biden "will have to prove he won the election" before he can move into the White House.
THE TV NIGHTLY NEWS now features segments on the "food insecure" as they wait patiently in shockingly long lines for a week's worth of nourishment. There was an especially affecting seg on an LA guy I pegged to be about fifty who was among the 32,000 people just laid off by Disney. "Yes, I'm grateful for this food," he said, his desperation audible. "I have nothing to eat at home, nothing."
LONGTIME FORT BRAGG COACH ROY PERKINS MISSING THE FOOTBALL FIELD
Chopping down large trees and coaching football might not seem to have much in common, but for Fort Bragg High School’s Roy Perkins, the parallels are real.
JUST SAY NO
This letter is intended to give people information on how to say NO! to the pot grow dispensary that has applied for permits at the corner of Alder and Franklin streets in Fort Bragg. To let your voice be heard you need to send an email to city clerk June Lemos’ email address which is email@example.com with your concerns, make sure you have a viable complaint why you feel this project should not be approved. I believe the planning commission will be meeting on Dec. 9 to review this permit for approval or disapproval. All of these emails should be provided to the planning commission by the city clerk, so the more emails we have the stronger our objection will be as long as we have viable complaints. Please let your voices be heard so we don’t let these people keep changing the identity of our town.
DAHLIA SALE ON SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY
Greetings fellow Dahlia Lovers!
It's Small Business Saturday & a great time to get to know some of the many amazing small businesses on the Mendocino Coast.
We grow Dahlias in Mendocino & sell tubers & rooted cuttings in the Fall for delivery in early Spring.
We also sell cut flowers & deliver them to your doorstep from July through October.
We have many beautiful varieties for sale in our online store right now at www.DahliasbytheSea.com.
Spreading Dahlia Love on the Mendocino Coast.
THE USUAL SUSPECTS
On Monday, November 23-2020 at about 9:07 PM Mendocino County Deputies were in the area of Tabor Lane when they observed a vehicle drive across an open field toward a travel trailer located in the open field on Tabor Lane near the intersection of Henderson Lane in Covelo.
Deputies made contact with the occupants of the vehicle, David Joaquin, 26, and Rebecca Rodriguez, 22, both of Covelo.
Deputies learned Joaquin was on parole and Rodriguez was on formal Mendocino County probation.
Deputies searched both Rodriguez and Joaquin per their probation and parole terms and both were found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia. Joaquin was also found to be in possession of a large dagger knife which was a violation of his parole terms.
Deputies observed Joaquin exhibiting symptoms of illicit drug use and was evaluated for being under the influence of a controlled substance.
Deputies eventually arrested both Joaquin and Rodriguez for violating their probation and parole, possession of drug paraphernalia and Joaquin for being under the influence of illicit drugs.
Rodriguez and Joaquin were booked into the Mendocino County Jail on charges of Violation of Parole, Felony violation of probation, Under influence of controlled substance, and Possession of drug paraphernalia.
Joaquin was to be held on a No-Bail status because of the parole hold and Rodriguez was to be held on a No-Bail status because of the probation violation.
FOUR MEN ARMED WITH PISTOLS SOUGHT after Early Morning Cannabis Robbery in Hopland
According to scanner reports, Mendocino County law enforcement has issued a regional be on the lookout for two vehicles and four armed men associated with an early morning robbery of a cannabis farm in the area of Pratt Ranch Road in Hopland.
TWO MORE COVELO MASTER CRIMINALS
On Tuesday, November 24, 2020 at 3:41 AM, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office was alerted to a reported burglary at M&M Feed & Supply (a general feed and hardware store) in Covelo.
When Deputies arrived and met with employees, it was determined that an unknown individual, or individuals, had forced entry into the building after disabling the alarm system.
Items taken from the business included one shotgun, two high powered hunting rifles, and five small caliber rifles, as well as miscellaneous ammunition.
Deputies began an investigation and collected evidence at the scene.
On Wednesday, November 25, 2020 at 10:30 PM (following night), Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies responded back to M&M Feed & Supply for a reported burglary alarm wherein the alarm company was reporting the power being cut to the alarm.
As Deputies arrived in the area, they observed a pickup fleeing the vicinity at a high rate of speed.
Based on the remote location of the business, and the recent calls for service, Deputies were suspicious of the vehicle fleeing upon their arrival. Deputies attempted to make an investigative stop on the vehicle and the driver fled at a high rate of speed.
The driver attempted to evade the Deputies for approximately 5 minutes until his vehicle became disabled while trying to navigate a creek crossing on Dobie Lane.
The driver fled on foot and tried to hide in some brush. A Mendocino County Sheriff's Office K-9 Handler was one of the pursuing Deputies and provided a loud announcement that he would deploy his K9 partner "Bo" if the driver did not surrender.
Fearing deployment of K9 Bo, the driver, subsequently identified as Eduardo Sifuentes Gonzalez, 39, of Covelo, peacefully surrendered to Deputies.
Two of the firearms stolen from the Tuesday burglary at M&M Feed & Supply were recovered from Gonzalez's vehicle.
The investigation continued and Deputies responded to the residence of Wendy Sue Joaquin, 47, of Covelo, on Tabor Lane in Covelo.
Joaquin was subsequently found to be in possession of two additional firearms stolen from M&M Feed & Supply during the 11-24-2020 burglary.
Joaquin who was on probation and is a convicted felon was arrested and transported to the Mendocino County Jail for possession of stolen property, being a felon in possession of firearms, and violation of probation.
Joaquin was to be held in lieu of $100,000 bail which had to be specially requested by a Deputy and granted by a Mendocino County Superior Court Judge due to the current COVID-19 emergency zero bail schedule.
Eduardo Gonzalez was booked into the Mendocino County Jail for two counts of burglary, two counts of Looting (Burglary during declared emergency due to Pandemic); evading a peace officer with wanton disregard for safety and resisting arrest where he was to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail.
This investigation is ongoing and several of the stolen firearms are yet to be recovered.
Anybody with knowledge of the current whereabouts of the stolen firearms are urged to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office by calling the Tip-line at 707-234-2100 or the WeTip anonymous crime reporting hotline at 800-782-7463.
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 27, 2020
JANET AZBILL, Covelo. Kidnapping-forcibly or instlling feart, stealing, taking, holding, detaining or arresting any person, assault with deadly weapon not a gun, conspiracy.
MONICA FIGUEROA, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Hit&run resulting in death or injury, stolen vehicle, no license, smuggling controlled substance or liquor into jail, and an unspecified offense.
WENDY JOAQUIN, Covelo. Stolen property, ammo possesison by prohibited person, felon-addict with firearm, probation revocation.
CHRISTOPHER MAKI, Pot possesion for sale, controlled substance, county parole violation, probation revocation.
HARVEY MCCARTY, Ukiah. Burglary (Frequent flyer.)
JUAN RODRIGUEZ, Ukiah. Petty theft with priors, resisting.
DEREK SILVA, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.
BRADLEY THOM, Willits. DUI.
KENDALL TRAVIS, Petty theft with priors, probation revocation.
CHRISTIAN VELASQUEZ, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
QUINN WILLIAMS, Ukiah. Controlled substance, resisting.
TK THIS WEEK: THANKSGIVING EDITION
Beginning a post-turkey descent to nap yesterday, I channel-surfed and caught familiar sight: a wideout running past a Detroit Lion into the end zone. “You allow Will Fuller free release like that, forget about it,” the color man noted. The score was about a million to six, early in the fourth.
I closed my eyes for maybe five seconds and it was happening again. This time it was a double-pass to Fuller, who walked in from about the 20, with Detroit’s Justin Coleman diving and missing him at the goal line for effect. The announcers were trying not to laugh too hard. Kurt Vonnegut wrote an underrated book called Galapagos in which the names of characters who were destined to die before sunset were marked with an asterisk. The next time they showed Lions coach Matt Patricia on the sideline, you could see the asterisk over his head. After the game, they asked Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson about the possibility that Patricia could be fired.
“I can’t say,” he said. “I’m not going to comment on somebody else’s job. I’m just here to do mine.”
Ouch. In the NFL, when players stop referring to their coach by name, it’s over. It’s like with an Ebola patient: once they start bleeding from the eyes, there’s nothing left to do but lie to them.
Whose brilliant idea was it to put the Lions on every Thanksgiving? This tradition has made no one happy: not the poor embarrassed citizens of Detroit, not the rest of the country that has to watch these horrible scenes every year, not the NFL, nobody. The Lions are among humanity’s great statistical anomalies. By accident, a sports team will be good once. The Cincinnati Bengals made the Super Bowl two times! The Lions have never been good at anything, except keeping coaches years past their expiration date and forcing generational players to retire young. The last time they won a playoff game, Bill Clinton was a sex symbol.
Nobody could have known what was coming when they first started the tradition back in the thirties. Today, the early holiday Lions game is about as enjoyable as a public service warning about prostate cancer. But it probably seemed like a good idea once. A lot of things are like that: good ideas, but poorly implemented, maybe by the wrong people.
Thanksgiving is like that. Every November, modern Americans wear Pilgrim hats for fun. The Pilgrims crossed the Atlantic to escape fun. They were horrible people. A settler named Thomas Morton had the audacity to erect a Maypole and the Pilgrims burned his house down and had him “fett into the bilbowes,” i.e. put in leg irons. The ideal Plymouth male hated women but was aroused by pennies. He employed punishments like whipping, the “ducking stool,” and the cleft stick, which was a split piece of wood he’d cram on your tongue for lying, whispering in church, or other speech offenses. The Pilgrim was the Anglo-Saxon version of the Taliban and his spirit — in the form of the censorious Yankee cheapskate who drove his sex impulse ten miles underground, in secret coprophilia sessions with paid ladies and gentlemen — lived on in America for centuries. This was before we even get to how he actually treated the indigenous population.
The catch was that the Pilgrims were escaping an even worse group of people, the English aristocrats of the sixteenth century. These were dandies in codpieces who wore the whitest possible face-powder, so no one would mistake them for someone who had to work outside. They’d made it the law of the land that everyone had to worship a faith created to legalize the urges of an obese hypersexualized serial killer of a king, who saw plots everywhere and beheaded a string of courtiers and brides. As Eddie Izzard would say, Thank you for flying Church of England, Anne Boelyn!
Put Pilgrims in the context of what they were fleeing, and they suddenly don’t look quite as bad. Which is kind of how I feel about America generally. It’s true, some of our first leaders weren’t great people.
But they were at least recoiling from an even worse group of people. They had some good ideas, too, not that all of them turned out so well. Was that all on them? Ask the people who owned the Lions in 1934 — the future can be hard to predict.
In any case, Happy Thanksgiving, if you’re still of a mind to celebrate. In TK this week, you’ll find:
- For What are America’s Wealthy Thankful? A Worsening Culture War. Essay on the increasing cultural divide, and who might benefit from it.
- Meet the Censored: Andre Damon. TK talks to the writer and editor at the World Socialist Web Site, which has been at the center of the content-moderation debate.
- New today: S—t Public Defenders See: Innocent, But Fined. An Iowa Legal Aid lawyer explains how in his state, when it comes to court costs, you’re better off being guilty.
- New today: Everbody’s Saying It: “Guardrails.” A new feature in which we catalog the in-fashion politico-phrase of the moment. This week, the latest craze in verbally safety-proofing democracy.
- TK Math: Rudy Giuliani. Man leaks hair dye, grimaces, reminds us of something. Going to keep tinkering with this feature.
HOPE & DEATH
Will the truth prevail?
The following is not, repeat not, intended to bash or degrade the Catholic Church or its system or its low-level operatives. But again I have to ask Why? With no response that satisfies. Why is what we must start and finished with. You may consider some of the following disrespectful. Don't! The truth would satisfy most of us.
You may be fall into bed with our historic president with a game saver of "fake news." If you are of such a mindset stop reading. You are most assuredly are a downstreamer with no hope of return.
On tv evening news investigations have documented and found that our pope was fully aware of Catholic priests and their ungodly acts of child molestation. Being a long-time personal friend of this high ranking Catholic, the Pope turned a blind eye on this abomination. Rather than renounce or defrock this sexual predator the pope elevated him to monsignor in the Catholic Church. What? Why? A few Catholics I know sure would like to understand this ungodly act in this particular case. Does the Pope not have or has he never heard of the moral compass? Does he not read his Bible?
If this type of activity is okay (to date) without retribution as seen by the Pope and his religious concealers, where is Catholicism destined? It would be seen by outsiders that this ridiculous order is headed towards the Rubicon with no realization what the flocklings think.
I am not alone in thinking that the Catholic dynasty is slipping deeper and deeper into a state of decay.
Perhaps you can live with a face saving of complacency and will continue to pray, pay and obey. Oh yes! I say with sincerity, Never let go. There are only two things that they cannot take away from all of us and that is hope and death. Although we may be light years away from getting anything substantive out of the Vatican, hope springs eternal with death not too far behind.
Gran says: “Perhaps the Pope never had any peanut butter cookies when he was a child. Maybe he would be more remorseful for all those children who were molested under his watch. No cookies for those misguided predators. Shame! Shame!”
Go to bed Gran. Say a prayer for those who have violated God's will including the Pope.
Gran said, "I will. Maybe we should send them cookies, the Pope too? One will know!”
Say goodnight, Gran. I’ll pull the cookies. Goodnight! Love you Gran.
God bless America, the prexy, Grand and Jerry Philbrick.
Old and Angry
by James Kunstler
Donald Trump found out the hard way how illusory his powers as POTUS really were, conditioned against the inertia, malice, and bad faith resistance of the bureaucratic establishment, a.k.a. the Swamp. He also knows that the Swamp just worked the system it created to elect itself president as (it likes to think) a final act of revenge against the orange interloper who threatened to drain it and, alas, failed to. All hail President Swamp!
Unless that doesn’t pan out, and there’s a fair chance it won’t, since a 2020 election fraud case will eventually land in the Supreme Court where at least five justices might not be so inclined to let what remains of the Republic roll into a Woke sludge of lawlessness. Do you suppose Clarence Thomas & Co haven’t been paying attention the past four years to the swampish doings in the other branches of government? And that they are, just perhaps, good and goddam sick of it? Everything from RussiaGate and the manipulation of the FISA court through the attempted character assassination of Justice Kavanaugh, to the Eric Ciaramella “whistleblower” impeachment caper starring Rep. Adam Schiff, plus all the side dishes of Antifa / BLM street anarchy, Covid-19 lockdown tyranny, French Laundry hypocrisy, and the gaslighting of America by the news-and-social media, with a transsexual reading hour cherry-on-top?
I hope the justices are pissed off a little bit at the hijacking of this country by a party that laughs at the law the way, for one example, DC District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan blew raspberries at the Department of Justice and the DC Circuit Court of Appeals when they both told him to drop the Flynn case. The deadline for adjudicating the janky election is soon upon us, and upon the SCOTUS justices, so the country will know shortly whether it has become the Honduras of the north.
In a just universe, the SCOTUS would invalidate the election results in several states and send the matter into the House of Representatives as the constitution stipulates. Heads would explode from sea to shining sea as heroes of the Resistance — Brennan, Comey, Weissmann, Strzok, and many more — realize they will not be getting their get-out-of-jail-free cards after all. Hunter B would retreat to the Chateau Marmont with his crack pipe for one last lost weekend. Nancy Pelosi would melt into a puddle of rage, prednisone, and hairspray in the capitol rotunda. And for Ol’ White Joe Biden it would be just another day of fog and stillness.
And then, of course, the punishments will begin, or, at least, be attempted. By which I mean the Democrats would let loose their street mobs to burn down, loot, and destroy whatever is still left to ruin in select Democratic-run cities. That will polish the party’s image fer sure (not). And this time, the national guard may do a bit more than just stand by.
But then, suppose the election is not overturned and Joe Biden glides into the Oval Office on those marvelously greased skids set up for him, propelled by a mighty tail-wind of Woke hopes and dreams for a golden era of work-optional free stuff and renewed overseas nation-building. Be careful what you wish for, DNC. Unlike Mr. Trump in 2016, Joe Biden will not even enjoy the perception that he was somehow legitimately elected, if only by a fluke. In fact, the Swamp gang’s credibility will erode daily because independent, entrepreneurial investigators will be out in the swing state thickets figuring out exactly how the election was managed, and how all those Dominion voting machines were gamed, and how exactly this shady company, with origins and operations all around the world, won state contracts with money changing hands. A day will not pass when Joe B is off-the-hook for all that, and meanwhile he will not evade being revealed as the empty shell of what he was before the axons in his brain-pan demyelinated — a third-rate grifting pol available to all comers with an open checkbook.
Gonna be an exciting few weeks ahead. Mr. Trump is not going to concede until he plays the hand that the law allows him to play. He’ll indulge his adversaries in the playacting of a transition. I confess, it’s already entertaining to see the laughable cast-of-characters that Mr. Biden’s managers have picked to run the various federal agencies: slithering millipedes, reptiles, and poisonous invertebrates from the rankest dense-emergent backwaters of the Swamp: John Kerry (the haircut-in-search-of-a-brain), RussiaGate shill Jake Sullivan, John Brennan disciple Avril Haines, open border activist Alejandro Mayorkas, and K-Street catamite Ron Klain to run the show. I hope they enjoy their rehearsals for a pageant that may never happen. And, if things don’t work out as you expect, don’t pee on the rugs on your way out.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Biden’s signature speech, the infamous “Corn Pop” Lifeguard Reminiscences, isn’t quite the same caliber as the Gettysburg Address, but it does have a certain je ne sais quoi. And I quote, “By the way…I got hairy legs that turn blonde in the sun. And the kids used to come up to me, and rub my legs down, and watch the hairs come back up again, like roaches. So I learned about roaches. And I learned about kids jumping on my lap. And I loved kids jumping on my lap.” That’s right up there with Ferdinand I of Austria, who was so inbred that he would literally do things like shout, “I want noodles!” when questions regarding the kingdom were posed to him, and who masturbated in front of his subjects in court (he’d fit right in with Jeffrey Toobin or Harvey, or Louis, or Les Moonves, or Charlie Rose, or, you get the idea).
EDWARD SNOWDEN on the danagers of Silicon Valley Censorship
DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE AUDIT REVEALS OIL AND GAS REGULATION VIOLATIONS IN HUNDREDS OF PERMITS
by Dan Bacher
SACRAMENTO — Just days after California oil and gas regulators approved eight more fracking permits for Chevron this year, the California Department of Finance released an audit detailing repeated violations of the state’s oil and gas regulations
The 16-day report published on the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend reveals that the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM), the state’s oil and gas regulatory agency, repeatedly skipped required reviews when approving hundreds of oil and gas wells last year.
“It’s shocking to see the rampant rubberstamping of dangerous oil projects without even the basic review requirements,” said Hollin Kretzmann, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute, in a press release. “It’s absolutely reckless for Gov. Newsom to continue approving new projects when so many haven’t been properly reviewed.”
Team members who produced the audit include Cheryl L. McCormick, CPA, Chief Rebecca G. McAllister, CPA, Assistant Chief Humberto E. Cervantes, Manager Cindie Lor, Supervisor Jonathan Cox, Austin Lange and Brown Moua.
“A detailed Corrective Action Plan (CAP), addressing the findings and recommendations, is due within 60 days from receipt of this letter,” McMormick told CalGEM. “The CAP should include milestones and implementation dates. The CAP should be sent to: OSAEReports@dof.ca.gov. After the initial CAP is submitted, DOC should update it every six months thereafter, until all planned actions have been implemented.”
Among the “most disturbing practices” detailed in the audit is CalGEM’s use of “dummy files,” noted Kretzmann. CalGEM approved 201 wells from April to October 2019, claiming the wells were part of a pre-approved injection project. However, there was no underlying project approval or evidence of review for any of these wells.
“These included 140 cyclic steam injection wells, the type linked to several large-scale oil spills in 2019 and one oil worker’s death in 2011. The Department of Finance recommended that CalGEM cease injection activity for these illegal wells pending further review,” said Kretzmann.
The report also revealed that CalGEM repeatedly allowed oil companies to expand or modify injection projects without further review. “In one case, CalGEM approved a 640-acre expansion, adding 400 new wells to an existing project. CalGEM ignored requirements to revise the project approval,” said Kretzmann.
The audit found additional problems in its review of 213 fracking permits issued last year. CalGEM identified multiple cases where the proposed fracking would take place close to “high risk” wells that could serve as a pathway for contamination, Kretzman stated.
“But CalGEM approved the permits anyway, failing to explain its reasoning and failing to keep records of how and why the agency determined the wells to be high risk,” said Kretzmann.
Kretzmann said the audit’s scope did not include CalGEM’s lack of compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The state regulator has issued more than 1,800 permits in 2020 to drill and frack without conducting a legally required environmental review.
The audit was released just days after CalGEM approved eight more fracking permits for the San Ramon-based Chevron. Since a fracking moratorium ended earlier this year, Newsom has to date approved 62 fracking permits authorizing 512 fracking events.
Aera Energy received most of the fracking permits
The majority of the fracking permits went to Aera Energy, a company jointly held by Shell and Exxon Mobil. Over the past couple of weeks, Newsom has faced intense media scrutiny for ignoring COVID-19 guidelines while attending a luxury birthday dinner at the French Laundry in Napa for his close friend Jason Kinney, a lobbyist whose firm represents Aera Energy and other corporations.
“If you thought that dining with an oil lobbyist at French Laundry showed Newsom’s true colors, this audit proves you right,” said Kretzmann. “Even as his own agency is calling for illegal oil and gas wells to be shut down, Newsom and his regulators continue to turn a blind eye and hand out more dangerous permits.”
Since January 2019, Governor Newsom’s regulators have approved a total of 7,625 total oil and gas drilling permits, according to updated data from Consumer Watchdog and the Fractracker Alliance at the website: http://www.NewsomWellWatch.com.
In 2020 to date, CalGEM has approved 3,344 permits, including 1,884 new permits and 1,460 oil well rework permits. New permits approved during the first nine months of 2020 rose 160%, while new wells actually drilled plummeted, the groups found.
”New data provided by the state shows that despite the thousands of new permits issued by the Newsom Administration only 60 new wells were actually drilled in the first three quarters of 2020 – a 74% decrease over the same period in 2019 when 228 new wells were drilled,” the groups reported.
New video footage reveals leaking oil and gas wells
For the first time, the two groups also linked the map to video footage capturing leaking infrastructure at half a dozen well sites near communities that received permits under the Newsom Administration.
Majority Brown and Black frontline communities in Kern County, Los Angeles County and elsewhere are now fighting for a health and safety setback of at least 2,500 feet between homes, schools, daycare centers and hospitals and oil drilling operations.
“Videos on the site feature toxic leaking wells in South Los Angeles near Jefferson Park within 200 feet of homes, playgrounds, and a health clinic,” said Consumer Advocate Liza Tucker. “Residents there battle respiratory problems, chronic nosebleeds, skin and eye irritation and headaches.”
She said this pattern is repeated at other sites where videos show leaking operations in Carson in the City of Los Angeles, and in Long Beach where one well is located less than 70 feet from a home.
California is one of two oil and gas producing states — the other is Alaska — that has no mandated state setback. Even Texas and North Dakota have minimal health and safety setbacks. Colorado recently increased its setback from 500 to 2,000 feet.
Neither Governor or the Legislature have implemented health and safety setbacks around oil and gas wells, due to the millions of dollars the Western States Petroleum Association, oil companies and gas corporations have spent on lobbying the Governor’s Office, the Legislature and regulatory agencies every year and in contributions to political campaigns.
As I reported here in August, California Senate Democrats who voted with Republicans against AB 345, a weakened setbacks bill that would require CalGEM to adopt regulations by July 1, 2022 to “protect public health and safety near oil and gas extraction facilities,” received $142,206 in donations from oil and gas corporations.
Senate Majority Leader Bob Hertzberg, Senator Anna Caballero and Senator Ben Hueso joined Republican Senators Andrea Borgeas and Brian Jones to defeat the legislation in a 5 to 4 vote in a Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee hearing on August 5: https://www.dailykos.com/story/2020/8/19/1969392/-Three-California-Senators-voting-no-on-AB-345-received-142-206-from-Big-Oil-Gas
Those regulations would include “safety requirements and the establishment of a minimum setback distance between oil and gas activities and sensitive receptors, as provided, based on health, scientific, and other data.” They would also “consider a setback distance of 2,500 feet from schools, playgrounds, and public facilities where children are present.”
But at this time, California doesn’t have even the minimal health and safety setbacks that Texas and North Dakota have around oil and gas wells and fracking operations. And if the results of the recent audit are any indication, the state often fails to follow its own regulations and rules even when they are in place.
Background: Big Oil Regulatory Capture in California
The reason why the Newsom administration is approving increasing numbers of oil and gas permits at a time of an unprecedented pandemic is due to the uncomfortable fact that the oil industry is the most powerful corporate lobby in California and exercises enormous influence over the Governor’s Office, the State Legislature and the State’s regulatory panels, commissions and panels.
Last year the Western States Petroleum Association, the most powerful lobbying organization in the state, pumped more money into lobbying than any other organization in California, spending a total of $8.8 million. The San Ramon-based Chevron pumped the third most money into lobbying, a total of $5.9 million. The lobbying expenses of the two oil industry giants came to a total of $14.7 million.
During the first quarter of 2020, at the same time that the Newsom Administration approved 1,623 total oil drilling permits, the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) spent $1,089,702 lobbying state officials.
Chevron spent even more: $1,638,497 in the first quarter of 2020 to influence legislators, the Governor’s Office and other state officials. The two oil industry giants combined to spend a total of $2,728,199 lobbying from January 1-March 31.
In the second quarter of 2020, WSPA spent $1,220,986 while Chevron spent $974,322 on lobbying in California, a total of $2,195,308.
In the third quarter of 2020, WSPA spent $1,169,397 while Chevron pumped $752,437 into lobbying.
Aera Energy — the company that the majority of fracking permits approved this year have gone to — spent a total of $672,604 lobbying California officials in 2019. In 2020 to date, Aera spent $290,826 on lobbying from January 1 to March 31, $191,660 from April 1 to June 30, and $200,082 from July 1 to September 30, a total of $682,028, more than all of last year.
In addition to spending hundreds of thousand of dollars every quarter on lobbying, Aera Energy also has deep connections to Governor Newsom’s Office. “Aera has well-connected lobbyists in its corner who work for the firm Axiom Advisors,” acccording to Steve Horn in his June article in Capital and Main: https://capitalandmain.com/gavin-newsom-hands-out-fracking-permits-to-connected-driller-0619
“One of them, Jason Kinney, headed up Newsom’s 2018 transition teamand formerly served as a senior advisor to Newsom while he was lieutenant governor. He is also a senior advisor to California’s Senate Democrats,” wrote Horn. “The other, Kevin Schmidt, previously served as policy director for Newsom when the latter was lieutenant governor. Aera paid Axiom $110,000 for its lobbying work in 2019 and, so far in 2020, has paid $30,000, lobbying reports reveal.”
Lobbying is just one of the seven methods that Big Oil uses in California to exercise inordinate influence over California regulators. WSPA and Big Oil wield their power in 7 major ways: through (1) lobbying; (2) campaign spending; (3) serving on and putting shills on regulatory panels; (4) creating Astroturf groups; (5) working in collaboration with media; (6) creating alliances with labor unions; and (7) contributing to non profit organizations.
A classic example of deep regulatory capture in California is how Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association, chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create “marine protected areas” in Southern California at the same time that she was lobbying for new oil drilling off the West Coast.
CALIFORNIA LAWMAKERS DEMAND UNEMPLOYMENT ANSWERS from Bank of America CEO
A bipartisan group of California lawmakers is asking Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan for answers about unemployment payment problems that have upended the lives of thousands of jobless Californians who rely on the bank’s prepaid debit cards.
MEMO OF THE AIR: Good Night Radio annual Thorgellen Special all night tonight!
Hi. Marco here. Deadline to email your writing for tonight's (Friday night's) MOTA show is around 6pm. After that, send it whenever it's ready, up to 6 or 7pm Friday next week, and I'll read it next week, then.
Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio is every Friday, 9pm to 5am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg as well as anywhere else via http://airtime.knyo.org:8040/128
(If that shows up for you as plain text and not a link, just paste it into your browser. That's the regular link to listen to KNYO in real time.)
And any time of any day or night you can go to https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com and hear last week's show and shows before that. By Saturday night the recording of tonight's MOTA will also be there, in the latest post, right on top.
Also, at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com there's a massive electrical hammer full of sentimental tchotchkes to pick through through until showtime, such as:
How we get all this food to be thankful to Imaginary Sky Friend for. Hint: modern human slaves. https://twitter.com/UFWupdates/status/1330656996807245824
And an interactive site that shows which indigenous people's land was stolen from them by cutting off of hands to whipping to starving to full-on genocide for you specifically to enjoy the use of. You just give it your street address. It even lists the treaties involved that kosherized the process. https://native-land.ca/
— Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
CONSIDER THE GIRAFFE
by Katherine Rundell
Horace was stridently anti-giraffe. The animal was, he believed, conceptually untidy: ‘If a painter had chosen to set a human head on a horse’s neck [or] if a lovely woman ended repulsively in the tail of a black fish, could you stifle laughter, friends?’ His account of the giraffe in Ars Poetica (c.8 bc) ends on a plea: ‘Let the work be what you like, but let it be one, single thing.’ When Julius Caesar brought a giraffe back to Rome from Alexandria in 46 bc (a gift, some said, from Cleopatra), the Romans, like Horace, saw a creature made of two parts. Cassius Dio wrote in his Historia Romana that it was ‘like a camel in all respects except that its legs are not all of the same length, the hind legs being the shorter ... Towering high aloft, it ... lifts its neck in turn to an unusual height. Its skin is spotted like a leopard.’ But the crowds, unlike Horace, rejoiced in the creature’s bravura hybridity. ‘And for this reason,’ Dio wrote, ‘it bears the joint name of both animals.’ Camelopardalis: camelopard.
Throughout history we have tried, with more enthusiasm than accuracy, to explain how something so mixed and miraculous came to be. The Persian geographer Ibn al-Faqih wrote in 1022 that the giraffe occurs when ‘the panther mates with the [camel mare]’. Zakariya al-Qazwini suggested in his Wonders of Creation (which also includes among its marvels al-mi’raj, a rabbit with the horn of a unicorn) that its genesis was the result of a two-part concatenation: ‘The male hyena mates with the female Abyssinian camel; if the young one is a male and covers the wild cow, it will produce a giraffe.’ Both possibilities sound more stressful than would be ideal from an evolutionary point of view. Others have declared it magical: the early Ming dynasty explorer Zheng He brought two giraffes to Nanjing and hailed them as qilin, a gentle hooved chimera. Charles I’s chaplain, Alexander Ross, wrote in Arcana Microcosmi in 1651 that the sheer fact of the giraffe made it impossible for naturalists to ‘overthrow the received opinion of the ancients concerning griffins ... seeing there is a possibility in nature for such a compounded animal. For the gyraffa, or camelopardalis, is of a stranger composition, being made of the leopard, buffe, hart and camel.’
Ross was right: the truths of the giraffe are more fabulous and potent than our fictions. Giraffes are born with no aid from the camel or hyena, but even so their birth is a wonder: they gestate for 15 months, then drop into existence a distance of five feet from the womb to the earth. It looks as brisk and simple as emptying out a handbag. Within minutes, they can stand on their trembling, catwalk-model legs and suckle at their mother’s four teats, biting off the little wax caps that have formed in the preceding days to keep the milk from leaking out. Soon they are ready to run, but still liable to trip over their own hind legs, a hazard they never learn entirely to avoid.
Once full grown they can gallop at 40 mph on feet the size of dinner plates, but it remains safer not to: they self-entangle. Their tongue, which is dark purplish-blue to protect it from the sun and more powerful than that of any other ungulate, is fifty centimetres long: they can scrape the mucus from deep inside their own nostrils with the tip. And they are the skyscrapers of mammals, unmatched: the tallest giraffe ever recorded, a Masai bull, measured 19.3 feet. The explorer John Mandeville only mildly exaggerated when he wrote of the ‘gerfauntz’, in the first English-language account in 1356, that it had a neck ‘twenty cubytes long [about thirty feet] ... he may loken over a gret high hous.’ (As Mandeville is himself a fictional appellation for an unknown man, some laxity in measurements is to be expected.) But though so tall, they are hospitable to the small. They have been known to host tiny yellow-billed oxpeckers on their bodies: the small birds remove ticks from their skin, and clean the food from between their teeth. Giraffes have been photographed at night with clusters of sleeping birds tucked into their armpits, keeping them dry.
We don’t know why the giraffe looks as it does. Until relatively recently, its neck was explained in the way Darwin suggested: the ‘competing browsers hypothesis’ posits, commonsensically, that competition from browsers such as impala and kudu encouraged the gradual lengthening of the neck, allowing it to reach food the others couldn’t. Recently, though, it has been shown that giraffes spend relatively little time browsing at full height, and the longer-necked individuals are more likely to die in times of famine. It is possible that it gives males an advantage when they engage in ‘necking’ – swinging their necks against one another, seemingly to establish dominance. (There will surely be more to discover about necking, too, in years to come: it often leads to sexual activity between the warring males. Indeed, most sex between giraffes is homosexual: in one study, same-sex male mounting counted for 94 per cent of all sexual behaviour observed.) Whatever its reason, the neck comes at a price. Each time a giraffe dips down to drink, legs splayed, the blood rushes to its brain; as it bends, the jugular vein closes off blood to the head, to stop it fainting when it straightens up again. Even when water is plentiful, they drink only every few days. It is a dizzying thing, being a giraffe.
In Atlanta, Georgia it is illegal to tie your giraffe to a streetlamp. It is not illegal, though, to import a cushion made from a freshly shot giraffe’s head with the eyelashes still attached. The United States is one of the largest markets in the world for giraffe parts, in part because America has refused to designate the animals endangered, despite the fact that there are fewer than 68,000 left in the wild, a 40 per cent drop in thirty years. In a ten-year period, American hunters imported 3744 dead giraffes – about 5 per cent of the total number alive. Today you could, if you felt like externalising the apocalyptic whiff of your personality, buy both a floor-length giraffe coat and a Bible in a giraffe skin cover. Rarer breeds are on the very edge of vanishing: the population of Nubian giraffe has fallen by 98 per cent in the last four decades, and they will soon be extinct in the wild. Their own beauty imperils them. As Pliny says, the proof of wealth is ‘to possess something that might be absolutely destroyed in a moment’.
There is something in giraffes that unhinges us in our delight. In 1827, a giraffe walked into Paris. She was not the first giraffe in Europe – Lorenzo de’ Medici had brought a giraffe through Italy in 1487, Florentines leaning perilously out of second-floor windows to feed it – but she was the best dressed. Wearing a two-piece custom-made raincoat embroidered with fleurs-de-lis, she was a gift from the Egyptian ruler Muhammad Ali to Charles X. She travelled for more than two years from Sennar by camel, boat and on foot, arriving in Paris in high summer; there she bent to eat rose petals from the king’s hand. She was known as ‘la Belle Africaine’, ‘le bel animal du roi’ and, most often, ‘la girafe’: like God and the king, there was only one. She was housed in the royal menagerie in an enclosure with a polished parquet floor (‘truly the boudoir of a little lady’, the keeper wrote) and Parisians, filing past to see her in their thousands, went giraffe-crazy. Shops filled with giraffe porcelain, soap, wallpaper, cravats, giraffe-print dresses; the colours of the year were ‘Giraffe belly’, ‘Giraffe in love’ and ‘Giraffe in exile’. Hair was worn vertically in Paris that season. Women smeared their hair with hogs’ lard pomade fragranced with orange flower and jasmine, and wound it to resemble the giraffe’s ossicones. There were reports of women sitting on the floors of their carriages, so high did their coiffures à la girafe rise.
But we tire of everything, even miracles. Charles X abdicated, his son ruled for twenty minutes, and la girafe outlived her fame. She died unvisited in 1845, was taxidermied and put in the foyer of the Jardin des Plantes. Delacroix, under the false impression that she was male, went to see the body: the giraffe, he wrote, died ‘in obscurity as complete as his entry in the world had been brilliant’. But the wild Parisian reaction, it seems to me, was the only reasonable one. It should never have died down: we should still be wearing our hair in 12-inch towers. Why did we ever stop? The world is a wild and unlikely place: the giraffe, stranger than the griffin, taller than a tall house, does us the incomparable gift of being proof of it.